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Oh yes that’s how conservatives are still painting the latest democratic, “Obama” laws and mandates slated to take effect soon; politicians, congress members preparing for events like the national prayer caucus and the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference cited what they call Obama’s abortion on demand mandate and the IRS tax scandal exposing IRS officials targeted certain groups containing the words tea party, conservative and more who were applying for tax exempt status as non-profit organizations as proof America’s religious freedoms are in jeopardy. To say nothing of their well-known opinions on marriage equality vs. DOMA (the defense of marriage act), their obvious war on birth control and science whether it’s decrying climate change or attempting to defund the national science foundation; clear too is that republicans have learned nothing since the devastating defeat of candidate after candidate in the election just one year ago. More and more abortion banning, so called heart beat bills have shown up in state legislatures, bans on sex ed., limits on biology; Texas right now has gone from debating the most restrictive abortion legislation nationwide that should it pass could close 90% of the abortion clinics in the state to signing it into law, along with similar legislation in North Carolina doing what fanatic bombs and violence couldn’t do in the 1990’s  closing the doors of abortion clinics without overturning Roe V. Wade. But does the provision allowing all forms of healthcare be given to women as a part of the healthcare law along with the IRS scandal constitute something for people of faith to be concerned about?

Click links above to read why they are sounding the alarm

Reality is our religious freedom is no more in jeopardy than when atheists fought and won the right to remove the 10 commandments from schools and the social problems went from talking and missing the waste basket to gangs, violence, guns appearing in classrooms, drugs, premarital and promiscuous sex, insert anything negative here that is believed to be the result of a lack of moral fiber throughout a person or nation. Notwithstanding that from the 1960’s, when that law took effect, all the way to the 1980’s, when we started teaching comprehensive safety to children about abuse, stranger danger exc. saw some of the most prolific years of sexual abuse; prime offender the catholic church, closely followed by pastor so and so coming into his daughter’s bedroom at night, all of it hush, hush and never talked about. Of course promiscuity in teens is repeatedly linked to said kinds of abuse; however, conservatives don’t like to bother with those inconvenient facts. The decade 1950-1960 saw high rates of alcoholism and domestic abuse linked to the pressures of social conformity, unrealistic expectations and the reality everyone’s life can’t be like the popular Leave it to Beaver; where exactly do they think the ‘60’s counter culture came from? Let me guess; the pit of hell, not the pit of misguidedly preached biblical concepts influenced by the cultural norms of the day that upheld the segregated south, was a means by which to deny women work outside the home, beyond domestic duties, to say nothing of during these years, and decades before, supported men beating their wives based on the biblical passage women should submit to their husbands. Forget that the family values era of America roughly 1950 to 1980 produced some of the most heinous serial killers to date son of Sam, the zodiac killer, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Domer to name but a few. Never acknowledged is that children growing up in alcoholic, mentally unstable homes, with aloof, neglectful, out of touch, parents begets more of the same creating a vicious cycle; a percentage of sexually abused become abusers in both cases. 

Our religious freedom is no more in jeopardy than when even after 9/11 Dr. D. James Kennedy spoke to his congregation about those lawmakers and citizens alike wanted to remove in God we trust from America’s money implying we had not learned our lesson that there was a god and he was rather upset with our denial of his existence. Rights revolving around the ability to practice whatever faith you choose are no more at risk than when the FCC targets Christian television stations the same FCC ignorant twits like Joe Scarborough and Campbell Brown want to give more power to, to regulate violence the same way they do porn, language and sex on T.V.; never mind if it breeds ignorance of basic fact in every citizen across the nation including those running for office like Christine O’Donnell who is on record saying condoms wouldn’t help the AIDS epidemic in Africa or who called masturbation, a normal, healthy, bodily function, particularly for pubescent males, selfish, even equating it to adultery. Anyone bother to mention these are conservatives too?  Despite the atheists win to remove prayer and the 10 commandments from public schools, religion, Christianity have survived, core aspects of good clean living remained, far more than many thought it would. We have a national day of prayer that holds as a major event across the country, FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes), bible reading as extracurricular activity has been added in schools where requested. Tim Tebo was celebrated for his faith not shunned for it and where students wanting to display banners of scripture, someone includes a god bless you during a graduation speech, may cause controversy, sometimes leading to court hearings; eventually they are almost always let stand. Extreme pastors like Christopher Hudson operate unhindered by anything other than bad press generated by their own actions, their own words, a-la saying post hurricane Sandy there would be huge gas and food shortages leading to cannibalism “your baby might start to look like a chicken wing,” or linking a Supreme Court justice to a satanic plot.

Yet still the complaint from the conservative Christian right continues to be America has used the freedom of religion written into the bill of rights portion of the constitution to include every religion, forcing kids to learn about  the 5 pillars of Islam, the basic tenets of Buddhism in the name of anti-discrimination, but if a child, a student mentions the name of Jesus they are threatened by their school sparking a showdown between the ACLU and it’s predominately Christian counterpart the ACLJ, again sans the outcome usually siding with the Christian in question. However aside from the end of these tiny battles, an attack on religious freedom, no matter what that religion is, from the American government is absolutely unfounded when no matter how preposterous you sound saying evolution is lies from the pit of hell at a political headquarters meeting, a campaign stop, you still hold political office; religious freedom is well and intact. When a pastor who wants to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9/11, no matter the danger it poses to troops overseas, no matter the offence to non-violent Muslims here, is not only allowed to do so, but provided police protection against death threats, retaliation; religious freedom hasn’t changed. Granted the burring never happened after he was intelligently dissuaded from something so inflammatory, yet it was his final choice not to go ahead.  Religious freedom is often seen to have a dark side too when members of the Westboro Baptist Church fight and win their right to stand outside the funerals of service members holding signs reading death to America, god hates gays, regardless of in what poor taste it happens to be; why are conservatives in such a panic over religious freedom in a time where, independent of the ridiculousness of the concept to some people, there are disputes over basic tenets of science such as evolution, questions on how old the earth is, biblical references vs. carbon dating, things that have been a part of the common knowledge for decades, we are nevertheless having the debate. Whether it’s about creationism, intelligent design taught in schools as a counter to the contested “evils” of evolution or decrying global warming, climate change, rejecting the idea climate change is man made to the point of stalling all efforts to decrease emission standards from vehicles, power plants, factories, environmental policies to increase the quality of our air, water, conserve natural resources, protect endangered species, keep our fragile ecosystem intact, we are having the debate.

 Conservatives as a rule don’t watch too much TV outside the Fox News network, too busy extolling us on the evils of that too; so they don’t watch shows like Breaking Amish detailing their adolescent rite of passage or realize said group of people have been allowed to isolate themselves, live the life they see fit according to their beliefs and the constitution of the United States of America. Simultaneously shows like Big Love and Sister Wives go inside the world of polygamy, plural marriage granting such people tolerance, if not acceptance, in most cases; animosity routinely reserved for cult factions mimicking the one run by Warren Jeffs, known for imprisoning people, creating child brides, cultivating child abuse marrying teen and younger girls with 40 plus year old men, breaking several laws beyond a person having more than one wife or husband. Not to mention polygamy is against the law and against conservative proposals, legal statutes that are in effect throughout parts of the country like DOMA (the defense of marriage act);  which oh by the by was the law of the land in many states until the Supreme Court ruling just this year. Consider too that all these people live their lives in relative peace and a Mormon was not only a serious presidential candidate in the last election, but got all the way to have his name printed on the ballot election night for the Republican Party. But religious freedom is on the precipice of extinction; sure. Next is there evidence; providing all healthcare options to women regardless of the religious affiliation of your employer, your school is first, the cost of operating in the public domain, of having employees and second, does not equal abortion on demand, facts routinely repeated. Further it most certainly does it translate into a mandate women must have an abortion, just that they have the choice to do so with their health insurance. Of course these are the same outspoken conservatives who want to put basic, been on the market for years, contraceptives like the pill on the same footing as an abortion, making it as equally morally irreprehensible and should be illegal contrary to medical fact and the majority opinion of the American people. Again no one is forcing women to take it, forcing them to prevent pregnancy only saying insurance must cover it should they choose to use it. As to the IRS scandal, not only did president Obama vehemently condemn what was done, not only were hearings held regarding who knew what and when, how far it went; there was the reality of why groups that turned out to be more than just conservative, more than just those containing specific phrases, were being so closely scrutinized. They were being so closely examined to avoid allowing in groups filing for non-profit, tax exempt status who were not going to the public welfare but political campaigning post the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Click above to have the IRS issue explained in detail

Speaking of DOMA another thing conservatives have their blood pressure in the danger zone over, now after the Supreme Court ruling, despite the support of evangelical, conservative Christian leaders, we find out the true agenda behind it, more conservative, paranoid, propaganda about one more hot button conservative centric issue, entitlement programs. It appears DOMA was created amid fears about having to pay out government benefits, social security, spousal, death, military benefits to same sex couples who might decide to get married, if the legal option were afforded to them, and how that, not could but would, definitely collapse the system. Never mind those same gay/lesbian couples, provided they are employed, have been paying into things like social security, a portion of a soldiers paycheck probably goes to those benefits to be paid to his/her spouse in the event of death or medical discharge from whatever branch of service; forget not every same sex partnership in America at this moment, within the next 6 months to 2 years is at a level where the individuals are ready to discuss marriage let alone go about planning a wedding. Believe it or not homosexual couples do not differ that much from heterosexual ones; meaning every one of them is not going to rush out and get married because of this ruling. Neither are all homosexual couples who might marry in the near future either retired, active military slated to take benefits, or old enough to collect social security, facing a situation where they would be collecting said benefit as disability or anywhere near death either by chronological age or in a high risk job. Unfortunately instead of being honest about their reasons for insisting DOMA be the law of the land they played to their religious base and made it about marriage should be between one man and one woman on moral grounds, concurrently wanting to take a chainsaw to said programs, raise the retirement age, raise the Medicare eligibility age, not wanting to pay out a single dime more than they necessary especially not to “those people” who aren’t “living right” anyway.

Then there’s looking at what’s happened since faith has slowly made its way back into public, political and governmental life trying to follow the pastoral assertion the separation of church and state was originally designed to keep the state off the churches back rather than exclude it from the operational processes; it is one thing to listen to celebrities like Steven Baldwin talk about their belief in god, to see Gary Busey on Wife Swap, bad enough headlines are littered with scandal, Ted Haggard’s homosexual encounters, Eddie Long stepping down from his church after similar allegations about him and church members, Creflo Dollar arrested on possible child abuse charges, church leaders like Mr. Hudson saying strange things. We’ve had endless debates over science, creationism vs. evolution while supporters of the former stand in town hall meetings, campaign fundraisers, party headquarters treating said space like a Sunday sermon, church pulpit waving a bible around as proof they are correct yet have never submitted their findings, evidence to any scientific testing, rigor to have it accepted as a plausible alternative by that community.  Faith based, faith centered members of congress who are so caught up in this, so busy fighting about how old the earth is, is climate change real since creationism says one thing evolution another, so how could science be right about this, we can’t get meaningful legislation on environmental policy, who have fought tooth and nail renewable energy initiatives. Select leaders have not only made efforts to defund the national science foundation studying things their religion doesn’t agree with but local leaders are so interested in clamping down on sex education given in schools they have gone from an abstinence only platform to placing restrictions on anatomy and biology to be taught as well in Ohio. And the speakers they do approve of consist of the likes of Pam Stenzel most recently causing an uproar in West Virginia misrepresenting reproductive, medical fact, perpetuating ignorance a-la Todd Akin of Missouri, so desperate to defend his extreme stance on abortion, claiming there was never a need for it because a woman’s body somehow has the ability to prevent pregnancy during rape, not true. Nevertheless he was defended by former child star turned religious activist Kirk Cameron, as a good man.

Faith has always been the basis for some of the darkest moments in history from the devastation, looting, raping and pillaging of the crusades to the senseless death and imprisonment of  so called non-believers during the Spanish inquisition, let’s not forget the Salem witch trials, as alluded to before the misapplication of biblical principles oppressing women, suppressing civil rights; today though it goes beyond supporting spanking through the famous scripture spare the rod spoil the child, even when everything from death to sexual abuse is happening under the guise of discipline, to  the an outlandish conservative’s comments about the budget in Maine getting absolutely vulgar saying his democratic rival had been giving it to the people without Vaseline, and when called out for their obscene comment they said “good because I’ve been taking it for two years.” Keep in mind this was in front of press on tape or video during the local news; these are the family, good Christian values candidates being locally elected.  Leading right into the republican right’s stance on abortion, which they believe should never be legal for any reason owing to their faith telling them life begins at conception, unwilling to accept blanket bans on abortion that included exceptions for cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, a key reason it took another 8 years to get a federal partial birth abortion ban.  Religion that has pushed conservatives headlong into moving the abortion debate beyond abortion to try an end run around Row v. Wade with these so called heartbeat bills, personhood bills designed to prevent abortion at all costs regardless of if that enforcement is more dangerous to both lives, frog marching a woman in labor to a hospital for a procedure she previously rejected, forcing a patient with a heart condition who could not medically carry her baby to term to go across state lines to receive a lifesaving abortion, forcing women who want an abortion to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound amounting to a form of medical rape as she does not want it, her doctor sees no need to perform the procedure, but the government mandates they have to, to equating contraception as the same “evil, “murder” as abortion, and we’re talking the pill and condoms. Faith and religion are the reason for backlash against gays; far reaching beyond whether DOMA was a good idea, marriage equality period; so called biblical principle has led to gays being harassed, beaten even killed, Mathew Sheppard tied to a fence and hit with things, beaten to death for no other reason than he was gay and the people responsible thought that was wrong, more wrong than murder apparently.  This is the current face of religion in American life.

Somewhere along the line conservatives have managed to forget freedom of religion means the freedom not to practice a religion, to practice a religion according to what they think is right providing it harms no one and breaks no other laws. Somewhere along the line religious outliers seem to have blocked out pretty compelling reasons why people have little stomach for faith being shoved down their throats and it’s more than the homeless guy on the street talking about the end of the world, Nostradamus predictions or an obsession over the Mayan calendar; they are probably channeling Dr. John Becker a character from the hit, late 90’s sitcom about a middle aged doctor practicing medicine on the verge of the 21st century. His feelings on god went like this: religion is supposed to be about people being nice to each other, but frankly I don’t see a lot of that. You know, what I do see, is people using the Good Book to say they are morally superior. I see people building TV stations to bilk Grandma out of her pension checks, all in the name of God, you know. And, how about all those God-fearing people who are killing other God-fearing people because they don’t fear God in the same way?!” Somehow through the decades we have deluded ourselves about the good old days that weren’t all that good and the realities of when we did have the 10 commandments on the wall in every building including the classroom, when children bowed their heads to pray during the school day, and the fate of the little Jewish boy who doesn’t want to pray, or doesn’t pray to god the same way and is beat up every day on the playground by the good Christian boys and girls for being Jewish. Judaism without which there would be no Christianity, and suddenly in that light the separation of church and state, divorcing religion and government, religion and politics, religion and education don’t seem such a bad thing.